Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Image of God

We are made in the image of God. Theologians call this the imago dei. The idea is that we are like God in substance. This means that we don’t look like God in the normal sense. God doesn’t have a look because He is spirit. Of course, Jesus did have a look, because He was a man. But when God says that He will make man in His image he means something other than just looks.

This is sometimes called the “substantive view” of the imago dei. We are created in the image of God and that manifests itself in certain characteristics that God has given us that are also found in Himself. Characteristics such as holiness, immortality, and love.

Now, you may be thinking to yourself that if God has these same characteristics of holiness, immortality and love that I have, then God isn’t much of a god. After all, holiness in man is a rare trait – as 9/11, Columbine, and the aftermath of Katrina testify. Immortality? No one lives forever – we all die. And love? See “holiness” above!

Yet, I contend that these are the very things that God has given us when He created us in His image, as recorded in Genesis 1. But remember, that Genesis 1 is not the end of the story. There was an event in Genesis 3 that sheds light on why the imago dei is so lacking in man today.

The image of God in us was marred almost beyond recognition when the human race fell into sin. Vestiges are still there – there is still a capacity to holiness and love, and we will still live forever, even though our bodies will deteriorate and die eventually.

While the image of God was virtually lost in the Fall, in God’s mercy it is restored in us through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This happens to us through the working of the Holy Spirit through the means of Grace – God’s Word and Sacraments. In Holy Baptism, God recreates us. We are “born again,” as Jesus tells Nicodemus in John 3. It is an ongoing, daily, process and will be complete when we enter into the new heaven and new earth that Jesus is preparing for us.

We can live in this new image daily through repentance of our sin and receiving the forgiveness of our sins through God’s Word. This has the effect of transforming our lives every day.

From Man of God: Finding Purpose in an Uncertain World.

©2009 True Men Ministries.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

God's Discussion About Us

“Let us make man in our image….” – Genesis 1:26

God doesn’t take counsel to make anything else in creation. The first place we see God have a discussion – a planning committee – about creating is with man. That tells us that we are indeed special. Creation is pretty amazing. Take the complexity of a daisy, the diversity of coral, the genius of the sun – all of that is amazing.

But God didn’t have a discussion about those things – He just spoke them into being.

But with man, he gathers the Son and the Holy Spirit and has a discussion about us.

Humans are sometimes called “the crown of creation.” We were the last thing created, he planned our creation, and we were specially created (God didn’t speak man into being, he used the ground). That makes us very special. That gives us some insight into why God would go to such great lengths to save us – sacrificing his Son to save us from sin, death, and the power of the devil.

Because God has a discussion about our creation, a planning session, he has several other discussions about various things with us. He talks about Sodom and Gomorrah with Abraham (Genesis 18), he banters about the exodus with Moses (Exodus 3). He guides David in a key battle (1 Samuel 23). He asks Solomon what kind of king he would like to be (1 Kings 3).

Taken from a new Bible study called “Man of God: Finding purpose in an uncertain world.”

©2009 True Men Ministries.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


At about noon on Christmas Day, I was thinking that it had finally arrived. The time I could spend relaxing. I could relax with my family, not have to worry about work, writing, or leading worship at church – at least for a couple of days.

But then, my middle son Kurt was sick. We thought it was just the flu or a cold. But when the fever started to get worse, the sense of relaxation started to go away. When he had a full-blown, knock-down seizure, it was gone for good.

But the good news was the doctor at the ER said it was the fever that caused the seizure and that breaking the fever with over-the-counter children’s medicine would take care of it. It did. About 24 hours later, he was eating again and feeling fine, albeit a little frustrated whenever we asked him how he was feeling – which was about every 10 minutes!

About 3:00 Sunday afternoon, I was thinking again that it finally arrived again. The time I could spend relaxing. This time I had almost a week without having to worry about work, writing or leading worship at church. All the boys were healthy and there was nothing on the horizon that was looming to try to take away from my time of relaxation. It ended up being a great week!

I need to learn how to relax, to find the Sabbath rest that God created me (and all of us) to enjoy. He created us so that we need one day out of every seven to rest from everyday stuff. A chance to unwind, pray, meditate on His Word, worship, and relax.

But relaxation for me is more than just a Sabbath rest. It is a way that I really need to learn how to live everyday. Sometimes I get excited – about a new project, a new toy, a new book. Then I put all my time and effort into that new whatever to the point where I get myself into a frenzy.

For example, I’m a Facebook fan. I don’t’ think I’m an addict just yet, but can understand how people can become addicted to it! I enjoy interacting with the different people on Facebook. But I need to relax about Facebook. I spend some time going through some pages, but then I put it away or walk away, staying online in case a friend wants to talk, but doing something else. I also like Twitter – a way to mini-blog, in 140 words or less, what I’m doing or thinking at the moment.

I think this is all part of my personality that wants to have companions to adventure with. I don’t like to be alone, even when I am seeking a little solitude. I think the idea that there’s someone else here, someone else who I can talk to, share feelings with; ask a question that’s on my mind.

Christ does that for usl. He said to His disciples that He was going away but would send the Holy Spirit, His Holy Spirit, to be with them forever. Christ is here with me right now. I can instant message Jesus any time – He’s always online (kind of like me!).

©2009 True Men Ministries.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Life Is An Adventure

Every once in a while, my wife and I go on a “quest.” We’ll be out shopping for something – a new bedroom set, a certain brand of bread yeast, a movie that we would like to have in our DVD collection. It doesn’t matter what it is that we’re looking for, it is just that we decide we’re going to make the purchase but we can’t find it in the first one or two stores we look. So we declare a “quest” to find the item.

I know it sounds kind of silly, but it makes life a little more adventurous and has the effect of bringing the two of us closer together.

I think life was meant to be an adventure. After all, look at the way every day life is usually describe – the rat race, the grind, working in the coal mine – all the opposite of adventure. We long for adventure and excitement.

But we’ve lost sight of how that comes about, so we try to create that adventure for ourselves.

So we have amusement parks, “adventure” clubs that participate in rock climbing, hang gliding, or off-road racing. Then there are those who decide that they are going to have an affair with a co-worker because life at home has become so routine, so boring.

The truth is that all the great adventures were never sought or created – they always came to those who were looking the other way or doing something else.

The shepherd who was the youngest in the family was content to spend his life watching sheep, but he was chosen as king. Later he was just a delivery boy – bringing lunch to his older brothers – and ending up fighting and defeating a giant.

The fisherman who was fine with how his life turned out – spending his days on the lake bringing fish in and selling it. Spending time on the water in the warm sun. But then He came along, said a handful of words and the fisherman’s world turned upside – and then he later turned the rest of the world upside down with his words of good news.

Even our favorite adventure stories are like this. Frodo is just minding his own business and is content spending his days and his life in the Shire. But the Ring comes to him and the adventure that saves Middle Earth captures him. Luke is not so content with is life as a farmer, but doesn’t really have the courage to break away from his uncle’s farm. Then the two droids come into his life quite unexpectedly and he’s caught up in the adventure that will save the galaxy from the evil Empire. Benjamin is quite happy being a farmer, raising his family and occasionally building furniture. But then the Red Coats come, take the life of his son, and he is caught up in an adventure that will found a nation. (These are brief synopsis of the following movies: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring; Star Wars: A New Hope; The Patriot).

If we look for adventure, we might find some kind of adventure, but it won’t be the adventure God intends for us. It won’t be a true adventure, for that only comes from God. Therefore, we need to seek God and not seek adventure.

Solomon, son of King David, was admonished to do this.

"And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.” 1 Chronicles 28:9

Solomon didn’t go looking for adventure, he sought the Lord and wound up in a great adventure.

In his later years, Solomon strayed from this and it cost him dearly, but the lesson was passed on to descendents, so that generations later, Asa was king and was given the same exact advice.

The Spirit of God came upon Azariah son of Oded. He went out to meet Asa and said to him, "Listen to me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin. The LORD is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.” 2 Chronicles 15:1-2

Asa also had a great adventure as King of Judah, not seeking his own way, but God’s way and was blessed greatly.

Are you looking for a little adventure in your life? Seek the Lord and you will find the adventure of your life and life will never be the same – it will be better!

©2009 True Men Ministries.